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Updated: 1 hour 20 min ago

Committee seeks public comments on proposed ethics opinion

Fri, 01/22/2021 - 14:20

The Professional Ethics Committee for the State Bar of Texas is accepting public comments on the following proposed ethics opinion through March 22:

  • Proposed Opinion 21-1: Under the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct, when may a lawyer represent a client adverse to a former prospective client of the lawyer or another lawyer in the lawyer’s firm?

Go here to read the proposed opinion and provide comments.

San Antonio Bar Foundation announces 2021 fellows class

Thu, 01/21/2021 - 14:33

The San Antonio Bar Foundation announced the selection of 30 new fellows.

Fellows selection is by nomination only and is restricted to members of the San Antonio Bar Association. Candidates must demonstrate professional achievement, an exemplary reputation, and commitment to the legal community.

Members of the 2021 fellows class include: Luis Alcantar, of Porter, Rogers, Dahlman & Gordon; Hannah Hembree Bell, of Hembree Bell Law; Carol Bertsch, of the Law Offices of Carol Bertsch; Roger Bresnahan, of Farrimond, Castillo & Bresnahan; Nathan Cace, of the Law Office of Nathan C. Cace; Thomas “Trey” Cammack, of Thomas J. Henry Law; Lance Cutright, of DeMott, McChesney, Curtright, Armendariz; Ashley Senary Dahlberg, of Norton Rose Fulbright; Michael D. DeNuccio, of Curney, Farmer, House, Osuna & Jackson; Rob Eichelbaum, of the Law Offices of Rob Eichelbaum; Hayley Ellison, of Davis & Santos; Judge Richard B. Farrer, of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas; Troy A. Glander, of A Nava & Glander Law Firm; Isaac J. Huron, of the Archdiocese of San Antonio; William B. Kingman, of the Law Offices of William B. Kingman; Greta McFarling, of Chasnoff | Stibling; Kelly John Moynihan, of Lindow Stephens Trust; Shellie Reyes, of Clausewitz Law Firm; Michael J. Ritter, of the 4th Court of Appeals in San Antonio; George Luis Salinas Jr., of the Law Offices of George Salinas; Maurine “Mo” Shipp, of Clark Hill; Scott A. Stolle, of A Nava & Glander Law Firm; Marc A. Stroope, of Zachry Group; Charli Kilpatrick Tavera, of David M. Evans, Attorney & Counselor at Law; Erica Valladares, of Langley & Banack; Dennis J. Windscheffel, of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld; and Jeff J. Wurzburg, of Norton Rose Fulbright.

For more information about the San Antonio Bar Foundation, go to sabar.org.

Houston Trial Lawyers Association names Wade Moriarty president

Wed, 01/20/2021 - 16:49

The Houston Trial Lawyers Association appointed Wade Moriarty, of Crim & Villalpando, as its 2021 president and installed other officers.

Members also elected to office are Anjali Nigam, of the Nigam Law Firm, as 2021 HTLA president-elect, and Andrea Roth, of Brann Sullivan Trial Lawyers, as 2021 HTLA secretary/treasurer.

For more information about HTLA, go to HTLA.org.

Texas OCA signs new eFiling contract

Wed, 01/20/2021 - 10:52

The Texas Office of Court Administration, or OCA, signed a new contract with Tyler Technologies to continue eFileTexas through 2027.

“We’ve achieved a great deal of success for our courts through the use of eFileTexas,” David Slayton, OCA administrative director, said in a press release. “Electronic filing has been key to the Texas judiciary’s ability to overcome disasters; from hurricanes to the COVID-19 pandemic and to a ransomware attack. Through all of these disasters, our courts have remained open and operational, and that is due in large part to eFileTexas. It is a crucial function of our judicial system, and I am excited to continue to improve the system with new upgrades and features to our court community.”

The contract is valued at $98 million over the next five years and features upgrades to the current system that will benefit clerks, attorneys, litigants, and staff.

The upgraded features that will go online when the new contract begins in 2022 include: self-service administrative tools; robust reporting capabilities for both program administrators and clerks at the local level; metrics and analytics tool for courts and clerks to see filing trends and staff issues; improved filing experience for users with more upfront document checks—reducing the number of filings returned for correction; and ability to upload and transmit additional file formats.

The new contract was awarded after an extensive procurement process that began in December 2018, with a request for offer released in April 2020. Tyler Technologies was selected among several competitive bids. OCA will have the option to extend the terms of the contract through 2032.

Foley & Lardner holds virtual MLK Jr. Oratory Competitions in Dallas and Houston

Tue, 01/19/2021 - 12:29

Foley & Gardner hosted the final rounds of the virtual MLK Jr. Oratory Competitions for fourth and fifth graders on January 15 in Dallas and Houston.

The winners of the competition were Dominic Patermo, from Harry C. Withers Elementary School in Dallas, and Vivianna Serna, from Crespo Elementary in Houston.

Each of the competitions began with in-school qualifiers conducted by video submission and were followed by semifinals. Students were evaluated based on delivery, stage presence and decorum, and content interpretation and memorization. In the finals, panels of community and business leaders judged the students on their performances.

The competitions are held in conjunction with Martin Luther King Jr. Day to encourage people to remember and pay tribute to the late civil rights leader’s legacy.

Foley & Lardner started the competition in Dallas in 1993 and later established the Houston competition in 1997.

State Bar of Texas Board of Directors to meet January 22

Fri, 01/15/2021 - 15:04

The State Bar of Texas Board of Directors will meet for its next quarterly meeting at 9 a.m. CST on January 22.

Among items on the agenda, the board will receive:

View the full agenda here.

All State Bar members and the public may watch the meeting on the State Bar of Texas YouTube channel.

To sign up to speak during the meeting, please email amy.starnes@texasbar.com or call (800) 204-2222, ext. 1706 (toll free) before 5 p.m. CST on January 21.

Written comments must be received by 5 p.m. CST on January 19, for timely distribution to the board. Please submit written comments by email to boardofdirectors@texasbar.com.

State Bar COVID-19 response and other updates

Fri, 01/15/2021 - 13:46

Editor’s Note: The following message was sent to all members on Friday, January 15.

Dear Member,

This message includes updated information related to the COVID-19 pandemic and other State Bar of Texas information. We hope this message finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy.

Supreme Court of Texas Emergency Order and OCA Guidance

The Texas Supreme Court issued its of the coronavirus pandemic on January 14. The order extends the court’s omnibus judicial proceedings emergency order for two months, to April 1, requiring courts to continue to use all reasonable efforts to hold proceedings remotely and to follow the Office of Court Administration’s guidance for all court proceedings.

In December, the Office of Court Administration that trial judges in district, county, justice, and municipal courts must not hold in-person proceedings in any matter unless the trial judge has used all reasonable efforts to conduct the proceeding remotely. Details on the instructions, other court guidance, and local operating plans are on the .

If you have a complaint about a judge not following the Supreme Court order, OCA guidance, or the county/city operating plan for in-person proceedings, please contact the regional presiding judge in your area:

COVID-19 Vaccine Information

The Texas Department of State Health Services is overseeing the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines in Texas. For information on eligibility and protocol, please go .

Register Now for Rules Vote Informational Forums

Texas lawyers have been called upon to exercise their right of self-governance by voting on proposed amendments to the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct and Texas Rules of Disciplinary Procedure. Voting will take place from February 2 to March 4 by paper and electronic ballot.

The remaining public forums for the 2021 rules vote will take place via webinar on the following dates:

Each event will include a one-hour CLE presentation on the proposed disciplinary rule amendments (approved for one hour of MCLE ethics credit) featuring members of the Committee on Disciplinary Rules and Referenda, followed by a live forum where attendees can ask questions and provide comments regarding the proposed amendments.

Registration is free and open now. If you can’t make it to a live event, a recorded version will be available on demand. Go to to learn more.

Stay Up to Date on State Legislation

The 87th Session of the Texas Legislature opened on January 12 and will run to May 31. During each legislative session, the State Bar of Texas offers the Friday Update e-newsletter to keep members up to date on legislation of interest to the legal profession. The newsletter includes links to relevant bills with status information. Subscribe at .

Take Care of Yourselves

In this challenging time, it’s important to take care of yourselves. We invite you to take advantage of the collected by the Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program and to attend TLAP’s monthly Remote Well-Being Wednesday program. The next program, on , is scheduled for noon CST on January 27 with the following panelists:

  • Vance Hinds, Texas attorney
  • Erica Grigg, TLAP attorney
  • Chris Ritter, TLAP director

Sincerely,

State Bar of Texas

Resources to Keep You Informed: The State Bar of Texas continues to update with the latest resources and information to help you stay informed of the changes affecting our profession. You can also sign up for the State Bar’s Daily News Briefing at to receive the latest legal news updates in your inbox every weekday.

Charisma Ricksy Nguepdo named first African American editor in chief of Houston Law Review

Fri, 01/15/2021 - 08:51

Charisma Ricksy Nguepdo, a 2L at the University of Houston Law Center, has been named the Houston Law Review’s editor in chief. She is the first African American to hold that position.

“I recognize that my election as the first Black editor-in-chief means that I have now opened a door for other students of color to dream a little bigger,” Nguepdo said in a press release. “My hope is that through my hard work on behalf of the Houston Law Review, students who may have otherwise doubted their ability to join the Law Review will think twice about what is possible for them.”

Nguepdo plans on improving the Law Review’s student body engagement by collaborating with various student organizations to host workshops and panels, as well as to provide opportunities for 1Ls to ask Law Review members questions about law school, joining the Law Review, and how not to get overwhelmed. She also intends to make membership more accessible and to reflect the broader demographics of the law center’s community.

“I am very proud of the Houston Law Review for making an historic appointment of Charisma Nguepdo as its editor-in-chief,” University of Houston Law Center Dean Leonard M. Baynes said in a press release. “Charisma is highly qualified for the position. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Penn State University majoring in African-American Studies and Criminology. She then received her masters of science from Johns Hopkins University School of Education. Before becoming a UH Law Center student, she taught for several years at Teach for America in Cleveland, Ohio, and also taught at prep schools in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.”

Nguepdo is the Black Law Students Association 2020-2021 president. She is a Legal Writing Center fellow; a research assistant to professor Meredith J. Duncan, assistant dean of Diversity, Inclusion, and Metropolitan Programs; and a summer associate of Locke Lord.

For more information about the University of Houston Law Center, go to law.uh.edu.

Register now for 2021 rules vote public forum webinars, free CLE

Wed, 01/13/2021 - 13:47

Texas lawyers are being called upon to exercise their right of self-governance by voting on proposed amendments to the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct and Texas Rules of Disciplinary Procedure. Voting will take place from February 2 to March 4 by paper and electronic ballot.

The remaining public forums for the 2021 rules vote will take place via webinar on the following dates:

Each event will include a one-hour CLE presentation on the proposed disciplinary rule amendments (approved for one hour of MCLE ethics credit) featuring members of the Committee on Disciplinary Rules and Referenda, followed by a live forum where attendees can ask questions and provide comments regarding the proposed amendments.

Registration is free and open now. Register early to ensure you have a spot.

If you can’t make it to a live event, a recorded version will be available on demand. Go to and read the January issue of the Texas Bar Journal to learn more about the proposals.

Sponsored Content: New Website Connects Legal Professionals with Court Reporters

Tue, 01/12/2021 - 23:01

Attorneys, Judges and their admins use MyTexasCSR.com to hire Texas CSRs for court proceedings and other events that require verbatim reporting, transcribing.

ATHENS, TEXAS, UNITED STATES, December 17, 2020– Texas Court Reporters Association (TCRA) announces the launch of MyTexasCSR.com, a new website that is dedicated to connecting legal professionals with court reporters.

MyTexasCSR.com was developed after much debate on solving an ongoing challenge in the legal community. According to an independent industry outlook report, the retirement rate of court reporters surpasses the rate of new Certified Shorthand Reporter (CSR) certifications, resulting in a national court reporter shortage with Texas being the second-biggest shortage in the country. There are currently over 2,200 CSRs in Texas.

Mellony Ariail, President of TCRA, said, “TCRA developed a multi-pronged and comprehensive plan to address the shortage of court reporters, including the creation of MyTexasCSR.com. Our mission was to develop a tool that ensured that 100% of Texas court reporter jobs were filled.”

MyTexasCSR.com is a first of its kind website that Ariail describes as an “Uber for Court Reporters.” Attorneys, judges and their administrators and assistants can use MyTexasCSR.com to notify Texas court reporters of their need for a CSR for court proceedings, hearings, depositions, conferences, meetings or other events that require verbatim reporting and transcribing.

Attorneys have expressed frustration with not being able to hire a court reporter when needed and may feel the need to resort to using non-human alternatives. Some companies are promoting digital recording and voice recognition as a way to fill the gap but the National Court Reporters Association describes those methods as “a loss in accuracy, timeliness and value.”

Brooke Ingram, Executive Director of TCRA, states, “TCRA heard too many stories from lawyers that a CSR wasn’t available when they needed one, only to find out later that, in fact, there were many reporters available who could have done the job.  The key is connecting those in need with those who can fill that need.  MyTexasCSR.com is a website that we designed to be a safety net aimed at making sure that when courts and lawyers need a CSR in Texas, they always get one.”

All court reporters in Texas are invited to register for free on the website to receive immediate alerts for jobs that need to be filled. “TCRA developed this website to benefit our entire industry so membership on MyTexasCSR.com is not limited to TCRA members only,” stated Ingram.

After an attorney registers on the site and posts a request for a reporter to cover a job, the poster will get an email notification each time a reporter replies to the request. The email notification includes a link to the applicant’s profile as well as their email address and phone number for direct communication.

“We are confident that this new platform will be a great asset to the legal community in Texas and for the court reporter profession in general,” stated Ingram.

MyTexasCSR.com was launched in September 2020 and has already connected dozens of Texas CSRs with attorneys, judges and court administrators in need of court reporters.

About TCRA

The Texas Court Reporters Association is the leading organization representing stenographic court reporters, broadcast captioners, and CART captioners (Communication Access Realtime Translation). TCRA was established in 1939 and is recognized for promoting excellence, maintaining high standards in court reporting in the state of Texas, and impacting legislative issues through its actively involved membership. TCRA currently has over 1,100 members.

Contact:

Brooke Ingram
Texas Court Reporters Association
903-675-1806
tcrahq@embarqmail.com

Krista Zuber
ZuberDigital
903-818-0398
krista@zuberdigital.com

 

 

South Texas College of Law Houston names Darcy Douglas as vice president of advancement and alumni engagement

Mon, 01/11/2021 - 12:13

South Texas College of Law Houston has named Darcy Douglas as vice president of advancement and alumni engagement.

Douglas, a 2007 alumna of the law school, most recently served as director of philanthropy at Texas Children’s Hospital.

“As a 2007 graduate of the law school and a longtime member of its alumni association board of directors, I’m thrilled to be returning to South Texas College of Law Houston in this role,” Douglas said in a press release. “South Texas provided me with an excellent, practical education, lifelong friends, and a deep respect for the legal field. I am excited about all the opportunities presented by the law school’s upcoming centennial anniversary in 2023, and can’t wait to start telling the story of the important work being done here.”

Professor Sharon Finegan and South Texas College of Law Houston Board Member Nick Lanza co-chaired the search committee, composed of board member Ryan Haun, Associate Dean Catherine Green Burnett, professor Matthew Festa, Assistant Dean Mandi Gibson, Vice President Diane Summers, and outside industry expert Paul Secord, of Southwestern University, that chose Douglas from three finalists.

“As an alumna of our law school, Darcy shares our passion for fulfilling South Texas College of Law Houston’s mission, and she understands our pride in being a school of opportunity and of excellence,” said Michael F. Barry, president and dean of South Texas College of Law Houston, in a press release. “This, combined with her extensive experience leading successful philanthropy teams and fundraising initiatives, makes her uniquely qualified for this critical role at South Texas College of Law Houston.”

For more information about South Texas College of Law Houston, go to stcl.edu.

In Memoriam – November and December 2020

Fri, 01/08/2021 - 09:05

The State Bar of Texas’ Membership Department was informed in November and December 2020 of the deaths of these members. We join the officers and directors of the State Bar in expressing our deepest sympathy.

Wade O. Allison, 38, of Austin, died September 10, 2020. He received his law degree from the University of Houston Law Center and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 2014.
James H. Arnold Jr., 72, of Austin, died November 4, 2020. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1973.
C. Damon Ball, 89, of San Antonio, died October 26, 2020. He received his law degree from St. Mary’s University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1962.
Monty C. Barber, 89, of Dallas, died November 17, 2020. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1955.
Frank E. Barker, 82, of Corpus Christi, died November 19, 2020. He received his law degree from the University of Cincinnati College of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1967.
Cecil R. Biggers, 74, of Spearman, died October 25, 2020. He received his law degree from Texas Tech University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1974.
Marion J. Borchers, 87, of New Braunfels, died November 17, 2020. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1962.
Royal H. Brin Jr., 101, of Dallas, died November 6, 2020. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1941.
Maryann Sarris Brousseau, 60, of Dallas, died October 24, 2020. She received her law degree from Southern Methodist University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1984.
Richard Bruse, 69, of Fort Worth, died November 13, 2020. He received his law degree from Texas Tech University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1976.
Robert J. Cowan, 92, of Midland, died November 19, 2020. He received his law degree from Southern Methodist University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1953.
Roger L. Copple, 85, of Santa Fe, New Mexico, died June 13, 2020. He received his law degree from Southern Methodist University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1959.
Ira L. Davis, 74, of Austin, died December 4, 2020. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1984.
Thomas Largent Davis, 62, of Richardson, died October 22, 2020. He received his law degree from Baylor Law School and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1982.
Howard Adam Denemark, 61, of Dallas, died August 1, 2020. He received his law degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 2003.
Harish C. Dhingra, 77, of Friendswood, died February 25, 2020. He received his law degree from New England Law | Boston and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1991.
Joseph Dorsey, 78, of Corpus Christi, died August 27, 2020. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1967.
Stephen Drinnon, 60, of Dallas, died August 30, 2019. He received his law degree from Texas Tech University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1992.
Stephen E. Eisenstein, 79, of Houston, died June 30, 2020. He received his law degree from the University of Houston Law Center and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1993.
Christopher L. Elliott, 58, of Austin, died September 17, 2020. He received his law degree from Baylor Law School and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1990.
Walter D. Ellis, 78, of League City, died June 26, 2020. He received his law degree from South Texas College of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1975.
Carl L. Estes II, 84, of Houston, died November 28, 2020. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1960.
Gregory Evans Jr., 47, of Marietta, Georgia, died September 22, 2020. He received his law degree from Cornell Law School and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 2001.
Georgette Frances Garcia, 50, of El Paso, died November 15, 2020. She received her law degree from Chicago-Kent College of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 2001.
Glen Samuel Girgus, 59, of Kyle, died July 31, 2020. He received his law degree from St. Mary’s University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1987.
Victor Gonzalez Jr., 67, of Seaside, Oregon, died September 19, 2020. He received his law degree from Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1993.
Kenneth E. Goode, 62, of Midland, died May 10, 2020. He received his law degree from the University of Houston Law Center and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1982.
David N. Gray, 81, of Bellaire, died August 25, 2020. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1963.
Barry Keith Green, 64, of Cedar Park, died July 17, 2020. He received his law degree from the University of Houston Law Center and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1981.
Jeffrey Hamilton, 50, of Dallas, died October 5, 2020. He received his law degree from Emory University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1995.
Kimberly C. Hampton, 66, of Dallas, died October 4, 2020. She received her law degree from Southern Methodist University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1979.
Patricia Ann Houseman, 75, died June 12, 2020. She received her law degree from Southern Methodist University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1991.
Alvin King James, 91, of Sugar Land, died September 17, 2020. He received his law degree from Baylor Law School and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1957.
John Kain, 89, of Sugar Land, died November 25, 2020. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1958.
William S. Lee, 68, of Coppell, died November 10, 2020. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1978.
Charles W. Lyman, 75, of Houston, died November 17, 2020. He received his law degree from the University of Houston Law Center and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1970.
John Ronald MacLean, 82, of Fort Worth, died November 8, 2020. He received his law degree from Vanderbilt Law School and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1967.
Kenneth G. Mahaffey, 60, died June 7, 2020. He received his law degree from St. Mary’s University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1986.
Kelly D. McGehee, 77, of Dallas, died November 28, 2020. He received his law degree from Baylor Law School and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1969.
Stan L. McLelland, 75, of Burnet, died November 12, 2020. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1970.
Charles David Mee, 52, of Rockwall, died September 25, 2020. He received his law degree from the University of Houston Law Center and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1998.
Troy Lonnie Meinke, 53, of Schertz, died November 4, 2020. He received his law degree from St. Mary’s University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 2000.
Renee Marie Melancon, 49, of Plano, died November 4, 2020. She received her law degree from the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 2002.
Charles Milor II, 68, of Ardmore, Oklahoma, died November 8, 2020. He received his law degree from Oklahoma City University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1993.
David G. Moore, 67, of Denton, died November 15, 2019. He received his law degree from South Texas College of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1989.
Harold E. Moore, 92, of Arlington, died November 4, 2020. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1957.
Robert Nicholas Jr., 77, of Houston, died January 5, 2020. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1966.
Susan J. Oliver, 56, of Beaumont, died August 17, 2020. She received her law degree from the University of Houston Law Center and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1989.
Debra L. Parker, 66, of San Antonio, died September 19, 2020. She received her law degree from St. Mary’s University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1995.
Doyle Emmett Perkinson, 86, of Houston, died November 13, 2020. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1961.
Jan M. Ramsay, 60, of Wimberley, died November 11, 2020. She received her law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1985.
Rayford Allen Ratliff, 80, of Dumas, died November 26, 2020. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1968.
Tom Reavley, 99, of Houston, died December 1, 2020. He received his law degree from Harvard Law School and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1948.
Camille Reed, 52, of Snyder, died November 13, 2020. She received her law degree from Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 2008.
Ruben Gonzales Reyes, 55, of Lubbock, died December 12, 2020. He received his law degree from Baylor Law School and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1990.
Teresa Marie Robbins, 61, of Dallas, died August 21, 2020. She received her law degree from Texas Wesleyan University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 2000.
Vincent Rodriguez, 75, of La Porte, died October 9, 2020. He received his law degree from Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1975.
John Nicholas Schwartz, 50, of Dallas, died November 15, 2020. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1996.
Harry Reed Shawver Jr., 86, of Dallas, died December 1, 2020. He received his law degree from Southern Methodist University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1958.
Kent W. Shriver, 57, of Spring, died August 19, 2020. He received his law degree from South Texas College of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1988.
George Slover Jr., 93, of Dallas, died October 31, 2020. He received his law degree from Harvard Law School and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1950.
Edward R. Smith, 87, of Lubbock, died August 12, 2020. He received his law degree from Southern Methodist University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1957.
Kelvin Smith, 40, of Houston, died July 3, 2020. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 2012.
William Sparks, 64, of Tulsa, Oklahoma, died August 26, 2020. He received his law degree from the University of Tulsa College of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 2008.
Zollie Steakley, 44, of Woodway, died November 5, 2020. He received his law degree from Baylor Law School and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 2001.
Rodolfo Tamez, 72, of Corpus Christi, died April 30, 2020. He received his law degree from the University of Houston Law Center and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1980.
Lawrence D. Thompson, 80, of Cypress, died September 2, 2020. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1964.
Rice Matthews Tilley Jr., 84, of Fort Worth, died October 28, 2020. He received his law degree from Southern Methodist University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1961.
Richard E. Tulk, 77, of Austin, died November 23, 2020. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1968.
Lee R. Unterborn, 67, of Lisle, Illinois, died May 4, 2019. He received his law degree from St. Mary’s University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1975.
Robert B. Vlach, 79, of Dallas, died October 20, 2020. He received his law degree from the University of Illinois College of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1977.
Martin Alden Weeks, 65, of Norman, Oklahoma, died March 24, 2020. He received his law degree from the University of Oklahoma College of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1993.
Erik Williams, 46, of Cedar Park, died June 22, 2019. He received his law degree from Texas Tech University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 2013.
Eldon Lee Youngblood, 80, of Dallas, died October 31, 2020. He received his law degree from Southern Methodist University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1967.
Ruben Yzaguirre Jr., 77, of Houston, died February 14, 2020. He received his law degree from South Texas College of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1980.

If you would like to have a memorial for a loved one published in the Texas Bar Journal, please go to texasbar.com/memorials. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the Texas Bar Journal at 512-427-1701 or toll-free at 800-204-2222, ext. 1701.

Judge Tonya Parker to receive Dallas Bar Association Martin Luther King Jr. Justice Award

Tue, 01/05/2021 - 16:02

Judge Tonya Parker, of the 116th District Court in Dallas, will receive the 2021 Martin Luther King Jr. Justice Award from the Dallas Bar Association.

Parker will receive the award during the 28th Martin Luther King Jr. Luncheon at noon January 18 via Zoom. The event is open to the public.

“Judge Parker has the intellect, judgment, drive, and commitment to accomplish anything she sets out to do,” DBA President Aaron Tobin said in a press release. “Fortunately for us, she has unselfishly chosen to focus her tremendous talent and skill on serving our local community. Judge Parker is incredibly deserving of the DBA’s MLK Justice Award.”

The Martin Luther King Jr. Justice Award is presented to local leaders whose lives and practices exemplify the principles embodied by King’s leadership.

To register for the virtual ceremony, go to dallasbar.org.

State Bar COVID-19 response and other updates

Tue, 01/05/2021 - 12:20

Editor’s Note: The following message was sent to all members on January 5.

Dear Member,

This message includes updated information related to the COVID-19 pandemic and other State Bar of Texas information. We hope this message finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy.

Supreme Court of Texas Emergency Orders

The Texas Supreme Court recently issued two emergency orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic and evictions in Texas. The renews the Texas Eviction Diversion Program, a statewide housing-assistance program designed to help tenants behind on rent avoid evictions. Learn more about the program at .

The court’s extends deadlines for eviction procedures to reflect recent actions taken by Congress to continue certain eviction protections afforded in the CARES Act.

MCLE Deadlines Extended

We understand that the pandemic has made it difficult for some attorneys to complete their MCLE requirements on time. In response, the State Bar of Texas MCLE Department granted several extensions. Below are the current extensions offered. Attorneys with the following birth months:

  • October—granted a 90-day extension with a final deadline of January 31.
  • November—granted a 60-day extension with a final deadline of January 31.
  • December—granted a 60-day extension with a final deadline of February 28.
  • January—granted a 60-day extension with a final deadline of March 31.

The MCLE department continues to review compliance deadlines due to the pandemic. Please contact the MCLE department at 800-204-2222, ext. 1806, or if you have questions about the extensions or MCLE compliance requirements.

Register Now for Rules Vote Informational Forums

Texas lawyers have been called upon to exercise their right of self-governance by voting on proposed amendments to the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct and Texas Rules of Disciplinary Procedure. Voting will take place from February 2 to March 4 by paper and electronic ballot.

Public forums for the 2021 rules vote will take place via webinar on the following dates:

Each event will include a one-hour CLE presentation on the proposed disciplinary rule amendments (approved for one hour of MCLE ethics credit) featuring members of the Committee on Disciplinary Rules and Referenda, followed by a live forum where attendees can ask questions and provide comments regarding the proposed amendments.

Registration is free and open now. Register early to ensure you have a spot. If you can’t make it to a live event, a recorded version will be available on demand. Go to to learn more.

Stay Up to Date on State Legislation

The 87th Texas Legislature will meet from January 12 to May 31. During each legislative session, the State Bar of Texas offers the Friday Update email newsletter to keep members up to date on legislation of interest to the legal profession. The newsletter includes links to relevant bills with status information. Subscribe at .

Take Care of Yourselves

In this challenging time, it’s important to take care of yourselves. We invite you to take advantage of the collected by the Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program and to attend TLAP’s monthly Remote Well-Being Wednesday program that will be held at noon CST on January 27. The topic is The panelists are:

  • Vance Hinds, Texas attorney
  • Erica Grigg, TLAP attorney
  • Chris Ritter, TLAP director

Sincerely,

State Bar of Texas

Resources to Keep You Informed: The State Bar of Texas continues to update with the latest resources and information to help you stay informed of the changes affecting our profession. You can also sign up for the State Bar’s Daily News Briefing at to receive the latest legal news updates in your inbox every weekday.

Genora K. Boykins elected as South Texas College of Law Houston Board of Directors chair-elect

Tue, 01/05/2021 - 10:44

Genora K. Boykins, a 1985 alumna of South Texas College of Law Houston, was elected chair-elect for the law school’s board of directors. She is the first woman and African American to hold this position at the law school.

Boykins has served on the South Texas College of Law Houston Board of Directors since March 2012. She will serve a five-year term as board chair.

“I am humbled and excited by this opportunity to provide leadership for STCL Houston during this important period in the history of our law school and the legal profession,” said Boykins in a press release. “I look forward to building on the solid foundation established by my predecessors and working with the board and Dean [Michael F.] Barry to increase the endowment and financial resources needed to ensure the success of our students and future leaders as we innovate, transform, and adapt in the rapidly changing landscape of legal education.”

Boykins was regional assistant general counsel to NRG Energy, Inc., and Reliant Energy for 31 years. She retired from NRG in 2018 but continues in a part-time role supporting the Reliant Charitable Foundation, Community Relations, and Sports Marketing team.

“I am delighted at the election of Genora Boykins as chair-elect of the South Texas College of Law Houston Board of Directors,” said Barry, president and dean of South Texas College of Law Houston, in a press release. “This is a momentous occasion for STCL Houston, as one of our distinguished graduates—esteemed both in the legal and philanthropic communities in Houston—takes the helm of our board on the cusp of the school’s 2023 centennial celebration. As the first woman and African American to hold this important leadership role, she is a true trailblazer and inspiration for South Texas’ diverse and forward-thinking community.”

For more information about South Texas College of Law Houston, go to stcl.edu.

Stories of Recovery: My Happy New Year

Tue, 01/05/2021 - 10:10

Editor’s note: TLAP offers confidential assistance for lawyers, law students, and judges with substance use or mental health issues. Call or text TLAP at 1-800-343-8527 (TLAP) or find more information at tlaphelps.org.

I remember a number of years having terrible experiences with New Year’s Eve and drinking too much, doing something that was humiliating or that caused a problem in my marriage and then swearing I’d quit drinking for the new year.

As a lawyer, I had the idea that working hard and playing hard was expected and understandable, and the stresses of practicing law would always guide me back to the bar or at least to the bottle within a few days. I always felt so ashamed of myself for the failure to keep my resolution. I actually hated myself for not putting those I loved before my desire to get relief from drinking. I couldn’t see at the time that I was actually powerless to quit on my own. I needed help.

After several years of feeling ashamed of my weakness with alcohol, I finally saw a friend that I knew was a hard drinker like me and an attorney I also greatly respected.  He appeared so happy and healthy, and I asked him what he was up to that made him seem so much better. He told me that he quit drinking and, because I knew that he drank to excess like I did for years, I was curious about what he did. A few days later, after I had a particularly rough weekend of drinking, I asked him for help, and he took me to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting where several lawyers were in attendance.

I got a sponsor and began working the steps of the program and attending meetings as well as attending Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers meetings. When I got my 30-day chip, I cried in disbelief. I was doing so much better with the healthier tools that the program offered me to get the relief I was seeking from alcohol.

I realize now that all of those times that I tried to quit drinking for New Year’s were futile because I was not providing myself any new tools to replace the unworkable relief that alcohol once provided. I needed the new way of life and the connection. I needed the honesty and selflessness of helping others.

After being sober for a few months, I became able to help others do the same and I continued to work the program. Being an attorney became so much easier without being enslaved to alcohol. I had so much more time in my life to do work and take care of myself. I was so much healthier physically and mentally, and I had a purpose beyond me.

Now when each new year begins, I reflect on the pain that I was in each year and I have tremendous gratitude for the world of recovery and to be a lawyer that has the history I do so that I can be of service to so many others. It is indeed a happy new year every year now.

 

Emergency order extends eviction-diversion program deadlines

Tue, 12/22/2020 - 14:35

Editor’s Note: The Texas Supreme Court issued the following advisory on December 22.

In an emergency order posted Tuesday, the Texas Supreme Court has extended deadlines for procedures for tenants and landlords under a statewide housing-assistance program intended to avoid evictions for tenants behind on rent.

The Texas Eviction Diversion Program, announced in October, is supported by Gov. Greg Abbott’s commitment of federal money for landlords to provide an eviction alternative. Eligibility for rental assistance under the program will be administered by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs.

The revised order, the 31st the court has issued to answer issues prompted by the coronavirus pandemic, is effective immediately for certain “pilot” counties determined by the Office of Court Administration and, for all other counties designated as pilots in the program, the effective date will be set by the Office of Court Administration. For all other Texas counties the effective date will be announced later by the Office of Court Administration.

Under the order establishing the program an eviction proceeding may be abated by agreement for 60 days. Courts will provide tenants with information about the program and court records for participants will be confidential while eviction cases are delayed.

The order specifies that eviction pleadings must include notice to tenants that they may be eligible for as much as six months past-due rent paid if they and their landlords agree to participation in the program.

The continuing order also outlines procedures for reinstating evictions. Without such reinstatement, eviction cases will be subject to dismissal.

The order also notes that information is available here and here and that questions may be answered by calling the Texas Legal Services Center at 855-270-7655.

The order expires March 15 unless extended by the chief justice of the Supreme Court.

Dallas Bar Association and Dallas Association of Young Lawyers launch mentorship program

Tue, 12/22/2020 - 09:38

The Dallas Bar Association and the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers are launching the 2021 STEER program, a mentorship program that focuses on cultivating relationships and providing substantive and practical legal advice.

STEER, or Stability Tools for Employment and Economic Resilience, is aimed at attorneys in the first three years of practice and recent law school graduates. Participants are matched based on practice area, practice goals, and other criteria. Mentors and mentees will meet in large and small groups (virtually as need) several times throughout the year.

To apply and for more information, go to dayl.com/mentoring.

Office of Court Administration reiterates COVID-19 remote proceedings mandate

Fri, 12/18/2020 - 14:16

Editor’s Note: State Bar of Texas Executive Director Trey Apffel sent the following message to members on December 18.

I hope this message finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy. I am writing to share information related to the COVID-19 pandemic and to remind you about the upcoming public forums on the 2021 rules vote.

Office of Court Administration Reiterates Remote Proceedings Mandate, Requires Recertification of In-Person Operating Plans

On December 17, 2020, the Office of Court Administration that trial judges in district, county, justice, and municipal courts must not hold in-person proceedings in any matter unless the trial judge has used all reasonable efforts to conduct the proceeding remotely. This is mandated by the Texas Supreme Court’s and is required regardless of whether a city or county has approved an operating plan.

Also, unless local administrative judges and presiding judges of municipal courts re-certify their in-person operating plans before January 1, 2021, courts in their localities may not hold any in-person proceedings.

Details on these new instructions, other court guidance, and local operating plans are on the .

If you have a complaint about a judge not following the Supreme Court order, OCA guidance, or the county/city operating plan for in-person proceedings, please contact the regional presiding judge in your area:

Also, the Supreme Court issued its on Monday. The order extends certain deadlines for eviction-pleading requirements to December 31 to conform to deadlines provided by the Centers for Disease Control eviction moratorium orders and the CARES Act.

Register Now for 2021 Rules Vote Public Forum Webinars

Texas lawyers are being called upon to exercise their right of self-governance by voting on proposed amendments to the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct and Texas Rules of Disciplinary Procedure. Voting will take place from February 2 to March 4 by paper and electronic ballot.

Public forums for the 2021 rules vote will take place via webinar on the following dates*:

• January 5, 2021 (1 p.m. CST) – REGISTRATION FULL

• January 14, 2021 (1 p.m. CST) – REGISTRATION FULL

• January 26, 2021 (1 p.m. CST) –

• February 9, 2021 (1 p.m. CST) –

*Note: Registration capacity for each forum is 1,000 participants. Additional dates will be added if necessary.

Each event will include a one-hour CLE presentation on the proposed disciplinary rule amendments (approved for one hour of MCLE ethics credit) featuring members of the Committee on Disciplinary Rules and Referenda, followed by a live forum where attendees can ask questions and provide comments regarding the proposed amendments.

Registration is free and open now. Register early to ensure you have a spot. When registering, you will have a chance to designate any topics you would like to address during the public forum portion of the event.

If you can’t make it to a live event, a recorded version will be available on demand. Go to and read the January issue of the Texas Bar Journal to learn more about the proposals.

I wish you all a peaceful holiday season and a prosperous new year.

Sincerely,

Trey Apffel, Executive Director
State Bar of Texas

Resources to Keep You Informed: The State Bar of Texas continues to update with the latest resources and information to help you stay informed of the changes affecting our profession. You can also sign up for the State Bar’s Daily News Briefing at to receive the latest legal news updates in your inbox every weekday.

Celebrating Bill of Rights Day

Tue, 12/15/2020 - 16:02

Bill of Rights Day is celebrated on December 15 each year. The Bill of Rights, composed of the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution, sets out the foundational civil rights and liberties guaranteed to all Americans.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared December 15 to be Bill of Rights Day in 1941 in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Bill of Rights’ ratification.

The Bill of Rights was proposed by James Madison in June 1789 and passed the House and Senate in September 1789. Twelve amendments were signed by President George Washington and sent to the states for ratification, with 10 amendments passing the three-fourths mark required for ratification on December 15, 1789.

For more information about Bill of Rights Day, go to the Texas State Law Library’s spotlight post.

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